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Meet Our Newest Team Member

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Milena McWatt

Green Acreages Program Coordinator

In the late nineteenth century, answering lists of questions was a popular parlour game among Victorians. French writer, Marcel Proust, answered a list of questions posed to him by his friend Antoinette. Since then, Proust’s answers have been published, in one form or another, for more than a century. Many have used the Proust Questionnaire in various formats, the most notable being Vanity Fair’s version posed to various celebrities.

Taking a break from the typical interview process and article, we’ve put our own spin on the Proust Questionnaire to introduce you to our newest team member, Milena McWatt, who will be leading the charge with our enhanced Green Acreages program.

Hometown? I grew up near Fairview, in northwestern Alberta’s Peace Country. That being said, my childhood home is slightly closer to Bluesky than to Fairview.

Greatest educational achievement? I think this would either be completing my Master’s in Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie, or getting a full academic year in my undergraduate degree while on exchange in Brazil and while learning Portuguese (which was the language of instruction).

Favorite colour and flower? My favourite colour is green and I love being in the forest or fields in summer and observing all the different types of green. My favourite flower is lily of the valley. They are only out for a short time in spring, but they are pretty and smell the best!

Favorite outdoor pastime? This is a tie between walking my dog in the woods and kayaking on calm lakes.

Where would you like to live? I really fell in love with Rio de Janeiro when I lived there during my undergraduate studies. I don’t know that I’d want to live there full-time, but it’s like my home-away-from-home.

Greatest professional achievement? Something that really stands out is chairing the Gener8 and Navig8 Youth Energy and Water Summits when I was with Inside Education. It was really rewarding to see so many students, teachers, and stakeholders come together to learn and seek solutions for stewardship action.

Best thing that ever happened to you? It’s been six years since I adopted my dog Pepper and it’s been just the best. I have the perfect excuse to be outside a lot more now.

Mentors? I’ve been really lucky to encounter so many inspiring colleagues over the years and I look to them for guidance. It’s sometimes hard to evaluate yourself objectively and these folks have all been there to remind me of my strengths and achievements.

What drives you? I’m passionate about making a positive difference for the environment.

What do you most appreciate in a co-worker? A sense of humour and common values! When you can laugh at work and you’re doing something that is meaningful to you, it doesn’t feel like work anymore.

Stewardship philosophy? Everyone can make a difference and the cumulative impact of the changes we each make can be monumental.

Reason for accepting the Green Acreages Program Coordinator position? I grew up in a rural area and, with my background in resource and environmental management and education, it just felt like the perfect way to help promote stewardship across the province. I’m thrilled to be a part of the LSC team and get involved with on-the-ground stewardship projects!

What’s next? Due to the pandemic, we are exploring creative ways to keep our stakeholders engaged. I’m hoping to be able to work with my new colleagues to provide digital resources and online events to support municipalities and landowners. We can make some great stewardship gains in this uncertain time, as acreage owners are spending more time on their land and may have more time for initiatives. I’m excited to get started!

Learn who else is involved and what’s going to happen with Green Acreages.

Stewardship Showcase: Lac La Nonne Education Centre

Posted May 12, 2020 by LSC

Keep reading to learn about this group of dedicated stewards from west of Edmonton who received funding from the Watershed Stewardship Grant to enhance their local lake and surrounding community.

The Lac La Nonne Enhancement and Protection Association received a 2019 Watershed Stewardship Grant to support their long-term goal of constructing an education center on an underutilized piece of lakefront property.

The project consisted of transforming a parcel of unused land in Klondike Park, and bolstering community engagement and awareness of environmental and lake health concerns.

“Lac La Nonne is a high activity lake,” shares Maureen Teha, Secretary of LEPA. “From locals to visitors from surrounding urban areas, there was a need to educate people using the lake about responsible lake recreation and management and protecting lake health.”

With the education center infrastructure and construction complete, LEPA is working on installing signage at various points in the park which promote sustainable activities on the lake. They are also using native plants for landscaping and installing bird houses and bat nesting boxes.

This effort led by LEPA, in collaboration with Highway 2 Conservation, County of Barrhead and many volunteers, will continue educating and engaging visitors about the riparian area, native plant species, and the importance of bats and birds around water for years to come.

“We’re really grateful for the support we received from the Watershed Stewardship Grant program,” shares Maureen. “Sometimes just a little bit of funding can go a long way, especially when you have passionate volunteers with a vested interest in bettering their community.”

Learn more about LEPA and how you can join their efforts, working together for the health of the lake and surrounding area.

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